Hey everyone, Kya here!
I hope everyone enjoyed their 4th of July! It’s been a while since I’ve expanded on my Spreading the Love series, so I thought after so long it would be a good opportunity to dive back in. For those who don’t recall this series, here we discuss different methods to bring new victims – I mean players – into the fold to also play Magic: the Gathering. I’ve found that new potentials often view the game cautiously and can quickly become overwhelmed after watching a few games. The previous series went extensively over how to bring your close friends and significant other into the game. (I apologize for the newer people, as it’s a bit of a long read.)
However, since I’ve written that article, I’ve had a lot of interesting… test subjects… to further prove my theories about what really gets someone hooked on Magic. As I mentioned before, some might find the game confusing and overwhelming at first if they watch from the sidelines. For example, I know many, many females for whom this is true. They will often join their boyfriend’s group to watch, but always politely decline to play. The excuses vary, but it usually really comes down to that overwhelming component I mentioned.
So what do you do? As I’ve discussed in previous articles, you obviously start slow. However, one thing I found to be even more important is that we players can overestimate how difficult the core mechanics are for new players to grasp, even after you power-walk them through a few games, with the cards in their hands. It rarely takes more than three games showing someone the process before they start to get it. This article is dedicated to the next step after those first few games.
So where do we go from there? Where is that hook between getting someone who is still going back and forth deciding whether or not they want to play again, to becoming a fully-fledged EDH player? As mentioned in previous work, yes, letting them win will definitely help. Nothing like conditioning a loved one through various rewards systems and occasional dopamine releases to really set that control – I mean love – into their brain. However, there is one thing that works even better than letting other players win: letting them have long, meaningful turns within the game. This seems to be the main difference between someone thinking “meh” about the game or becoming obsessive in their newfound hobby. I’d argue that a new player winning a game is a far second compared to a new player blasting out multiple meaningful cards on a single turn.
So, what kind of deck do we have for these poor souls we plan to turn into Magic addicts?
Yes! One of my favorite decks will be the centerpiece for this topic. When I first saw Yidris, Maelstrom Wielder, I fell in love with our deranged Ogre. Those of you who have read my other articles may have seen his name pop up multiple times. I know what you may be thinking, though: a four-color deck is a bit much for a new player. I would agree; as I’ve mentioned in other articles, you usually want to start off with one or two colors for a beginner. As I said above though, I think we overestimate some of the difficulties for teaching new player, and that includes the jump from two to four colors (at least if you have a proper land base, anyway). Yidris Goodstuff does everything we want for a newer player to really feel the fun of EDH. The deck is crammed full of goodies that will make impactful plays and cause opponents to squirm with every new spell. Those sorts of reactions get players excited, sustain their interest in Magic, and make them even happier to flip into more spells with Cascade.
One important thing when building a Cascade deck is to try and build the deck to Cascade into the specific spells you want. Luckily, this is easy, since we can pack the deck with every great card we can find, which will often have higher mana costs, allowing us to Cascade into a variety of powerful effects. I essentially built my deck so all my ramp was low-costed, to Cascade into more low-cost ramp, while my high-CMC cards were spread out and can hit larger spells. Any newer player would love to play this type of deck, as it can be tailored however they would like. Finally, it also allows that player to learn slightly more difficult mechanics and interactions.
Oh, and I just realized something while typing this: Yidris’s Cascade ability is so random that it’s sort of like gambling, which also helps our new players grow more addicted to the game. Mwahahaha!
Let’s get into some awesome Yidris cards our new players will just love. These here are the Cell Jr.‘s of our deck. They help Yidris with Cascade, flipping into more and more nonsense! Imagine Cascading with Yidris as you cast Maelstrom Wanderer, and then doing it two more times! Imagine then hitting a Bloodbraid Elf as well! Sure, the Elf may not be impactful in EDH, but its an extra card that happened by chance and resulted in another card! That’s the entire point! There’s almost always a massive smile across a newer player’s face as she starts Cascading heavily off her deck.
Not much of a ‘Goodstuff’ deck without the good stuff! Now these are some crazy mean cards to hit the field. Imagine casting In Garruk’s Wake and flipping into Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger! For most players, casting just one of these cards would mean the end of a turn, due to their high CMC. Not with our favorite chaotic Ogre! This further drives the point of this deck. When I cast In Garruk’s Wake, will I go into an Army of the Damned and establish a commanding board presence… or will I hit a mana rock? Either way, I wiped the board and now I’m excited for what comes next. Winning becomes less of a stressful issue in my mind, and my focus is just to slam more powerhouses onto the field than anyone else. That’s what keeps players coming back for more.
(PS: I wouldn’t worry about the high mana costs of these cards; sometimes those are daunting for new folks, but that’s what all those mana rocks and ramp are there for!)
Of course you were going to see extra turn cards! If the theme is playing more spells, then these would be a logical conclusion! Sometimes a Time Warp might take up a majority of someone’s mana, and therefore their turn, but not here. With Yidris, we can cast it and get something else. Either that or we cast something big (like Temporal Mastery) and got Warp as a result! Naturally, we’re going to add Time Stretch in here too. So much additional value!
No deck is complete without a nonsense win condition! Aggravated Assault with a land-untapping effect can grant you a zillion combat steps. Really gets to the spirit of the deck when you can attack infinite times! It’s not too broken or difficult to understand, either. As long as Yidris can hit the person, he can do it literally countless times! Even better, say you take out one or two people but can’t attack that pesky last player. Well, now you get all those Cascade triggers from all the times you hit the other players. That’s pretty nutty! There are a few ways to accomplish this combo, so if something happens to your Sword of Feast and Famine, or your Bear Umbra, you can always use Nature’s Will!
Now, let’s check out a final decklist that’ll have new players loving all their awesome, valuable turns!
So what does everyone think? How have you gathered newer players to our lovely hobby?
I debated mentioning this or not, but I decided I want to close by discussing one mistake I’ve seen countless boyfriends make when trying to get their girlfriends to play. Often someone will get a new player a Tribal deck based off something he/she may like, such as Zombies or Vampires. I’ve seen this idea tank so many times when those decks fail to perform because it was overtly crafted for a newer player in mind. If you want proof, just look at their expressions as they drop one land, play one spell, and then pass the turn. It’s much more engaging to play decks like Yidris, which gives spells a bigger punch and creates more impactful and exciting turns, which helps addict new players to this awesome game.
Just a little advice from a girl that’s seen this happen countless times to other couples. I’ve actually found a bit of success getting people to play when their significant other isn’t around. Strange, I know, but this has been an oddly common occurrence lately. However, we’ll discuss more tips for new players on the next Spreading the Love!
Have a great July!